Malaysians are advised not to travel to South Korea for the time being to avoid contracting the Middle East Respiratory Syndromecoronavirus(MERS-CoV).

However, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said that so far the government had not imposed a ban on travel to South Korea or prevent tourists from there from entering Malaysia.

"We are monitoring our international airports. If we find any tourists with high body temperatures, we will immediately draw them out to do further tests," he told reporters after launching the state level 'World No Tobacco Day' celebrations here Sunday.

He said the virus incubation period usually takes about three weeks and those suffering from symptoms such as fever should report to the hospital immediately.

"Those just returning (from South Korea) but have no fever must still be alert because if within three weeks they detect any symptoms, they must report to the hospital and do blood tests," he said.

Dr Hilmi said the Health Ministry has taken various preparedness measures for the possible spread of MERS-CoV infection. No recent infection has been reported until now.

According to local media reports in Seoul, since cases of MERS-CoV were detected on June 2 until 5, 41 cases were confirmed positive with four deaths, while the number of people quarantined reached 1,660.

On the 'World No Tobacco Day', Dr Hilmi said that on average only 18 per cent of smokers who participated in a rehabilitationprogrammeto quit smoking at 480 clinics nationwide managed to kick the habit completely.

He said an estimated 23 per cent of the Malaysian population are smokers with 50 to 60 young people taking up smokingevery day.